Gym athletes, on average, have similar deficits when it comes to mobility because of the nature of their training. A thick super band can be a very powerful tool to address these areas. The best part? Utilizing the band allows you to actively work on these areas on your own on your schedule. Check out the videos below to find out the 3 banded mobility drills that I think all gym athletes could benefit from:
The banded hip mobilization (shown below) can have dramatic changes for the depth and comfort of squat and deadlift type movements. What I love most about this drill is you can tailor it to your needs within the stretch. For example, as shown in the video, you can lean your body in different directions to bias the stretch more toward the adductors or the hip joint itself. If you feel a "pinch" in your hip when squatting, this may be a good one to try. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.
The wrist mobilization drill is probably the least common of the 5. The video below shows a banded wrist mobilization into extension. It is important for this movement that the band pulls backward but also slightly downward, as shown, with the band directly in the crease of the wrist. The goal here is to open up the wrist joint into extension, which can make a huge difference with front rack movements such as front rack squats, cleans, and push presses. If you feel "pinching" in the wrist with these movements or have difficulty keeping your elbows high - try adding this move to your training.
Another important banded mobilization for gym athletes in this post is the ankle mobilization to improve dorsiflexion. Dorsiflexion (the ability for the top of your foot to come closer toward your shin - knees over toes) is crucial for a plethora of foundational gym movements including squats, lunges, and deadlifts. The amount of ankle dorsiflexion range of motion you possess can also increase or decrease your risk of knee, ankle, or foot injuries (having more = protective).
I love this mobilization because it is one of the only ways you can mobilize the ankle joint itself without another person. When people discuss improving dorsiflexion, they often talk about stretching the triceps surae - otherwise known as the muscles of the calf. While this can be helpful, many individuals who do this regularly still suffer from stiff ankles. This is because there are a few factors influencing the range of motion at the ankle, one of which is the ankle joint mobility which is not addressed with simply stretching the calf muscles. This drill, however, allows you to target the ankle joint directly.
The idea behind this drill is that it slightly opens the ankle joint, providing more overall space for movement, while pulling the talus bone in your foot down and backwards out of the way so your tibia (shin bone) can translate nicely over top of it. Similar to the previous drill, it is important for the angle of pull of the band to be backwards AND slightly downward, as shown.
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